BREAKING: OSU students, Columbus community announce weeklong fast in lead-up to Return to Human Rights Tour!

“We are fasting in solidarity with farmworkers who have had to go hungry while harvesting the food we all eat because of Wendy’s indifference to their exploitation …”

In a major escalation in the Wendy’s Boycott, Ohio State University students and Columbus community members with Ohio Fair Food announced this morning that they will begin a weeklong fast on March 20 to demand that Wendy’s join the Fair Food Program.  As hundreds upon hundreds prepare to converge on Wendy’s hometown from March 24-26 for the tour's major weekend of action —culminating in a massive Parade for Human Rights through the streets of Columbus — OSU students and organizers will fast to express solidarity with farmworkers who have had to go hungry because of Wendy’s indifference to their exploitation.  

Each day of the week leading up to the Parade, fasters will deliver the demand that Wendy’s join the Fair Food Program to their Dublin headquarters. And in fasting outside of OSU’s administration building, students will draw national attention to the fact that OSU administrators have yet to Boot The Braids and end their complicity in human rights violations against farmworkers that Wendy’s lets go unchecked.  In fact, they extended the contract with Wendy’s despite their commitment to end it should Wendy's not meet the criteria for farmworkers’ human rights set by the OSU Student/Farmworker Alliance.

Ohio Fair Food asks us, “What are we really hungry for?”  Check out their full announcement below:

Columbus! What are we hungry for?

Columbus community to launch fast calling for farmworker justice, human rights for all, from fast-food giant Wendy’s: We’d rather go hungry than eat fast-food that exploits farmworkers. 

On March 20th, we will launch a weeklong fast outside of the headquarters of the local fast food giant, Wendy’s.  We will be fasting to demand that Wendy’s respect the fundamental human rights of farmworkers in their supply chain by joining the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program.  We are fasting in solidarity with farmworkers who have had to go hungry while harvesting the food we all eat because of Wendy’s indifference to their exploitation.  We are fasting in a long tradition of taking peaceful action to make clear the responsibility Wendy’s has to their hometown of Columbus.  On March 24th, we will receive CIW members as they arrive to Columbus for theReturn to Human Rights Tour, a national mobilization to demand dignity for farmworkers and lift up struggles for human rights across the nation. 

 It has been four years since farmworkers and consumers launched a public campaign against Wendy’s.  But rather than respond to our demand to join CIW’s award-winning Fair Food Program, Wendy’s decided to move their purchases to Mexico, where child labor, sexual violence, modern-day slavery, and other human rights abuses are endemic and go effectively unchecked.  Wendy’s cynically offers consumers the fig leaf of a corporate Code of Conduct --devoid of any actual enforcement or worker participation -- as an alternative to the verifiable, worker-led protections of the Fair Food Program, a program recognized as the gold standard for social responsibility today for its unique success in addressing and preventing abuses in the agriculture industry. 

Wendy’s calls Columbus their hometown.  With attacks on the human rights of immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ communities, and so many others on the rise here and around the country, Wendy’s represents the worst of corporate greed locally and nationally.  Through funding political campaigns built on a platform of division and hate, and partnering with local developers on projects that drive Columbus’s most vulnerable communities from their homes, Wendy’s has failed its own community as completely as it has failed the women and men who harvest the fresh produce in their supply chain. 

 To reshape our city’s politics and win human rights for farmworkers, we need Wendy’s to take responsibility for their impact in the communities where they do business.  This spring, we must hold Wendy’s accountable and demand that they join the Fair Food Program once and for all. 

With our fast, we are asking ourselves and our community, “What are we are really hungry for?”  We are fasting for farmworker justice. We are fasting to show those in power who attempt to wait us out, who stall until we are tired and out of resources, that they can’t starve our movement. 

Our fast will begin on Monday, March 20th. Throughout the week, we will be fasting with a presence at Wendy’s Headquarters and with students on Ohio State’s campus, where the administration continues to stall on fulfilling its own promise to students to terminate OSU’s contract with Wendy’s unless it joined the Fair Food Program.

And we are inviting you to join us.

 The Coalition of Immokalee Workers tour bus will reach Dublin on March 24 at 3:30 p.m., joining forces with fasters and Columbus-area allies for a powerful vigil outside of Wendy’s Headquarters.  We will break our fast on Sunday, March 26, along with thousands of farmworkers, Columbus-area allies and people convening from across the country to march in the Parade for Human Rights, which begins in Goodale Park at 1:00 p.m. 

Join us in showing Wendy’s that they can’t starve our movement. It’s time for us to come together in our fight for dignity, justice, liberation: human rights for all.

Email us at OhioForFairFood@gmail.com to get involved!